BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for May 18-24

This week in BC: Get scared by the award-winning clowns Mump & Smoot, down a shot or two at the Vancouver International Tequila Expo, bet on the ponies at Hastings Racecourse, and more

150th Annual Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival — May 18-19

Few of us get a chance to hobnob with royalty, but that’s just what’s in store for folks at the 150th annual Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival, taking place May 18 and 19 at Topaz Park. The highbrow guests at this highland hoe-down include HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who’ll oversee all the action, which includes everything from sheepdog-herding and haggis-hurling to Gaelic singing and Irish dancing, starting at 8 a.m.

Credit: Flickr / abakedcreation

The Annual Empire Days Festival — May 18-20

There’s plenty of time to rest when you’re dead, as the saying goes, so why spend Victoria Day sleeping in when you can kick up your heels at Cumberland‘s biggest community carnival instead? The annual Empire Days festival runs May 18 to 20 with a weekend of revelry that includes a pancake breakfast, live music, a street market, parade and sports, starting Saturday at 10 a.m. in and around Village Park.

Mump & Smoot Award-winning Clown Duo — May 22 to June 2

Thinking of taking your kids to see Mump & Smoot? One word of advice: don’t. The award-winning Canadian clown duo — dubbed “a national treasure” by the Edmonton Sun — is definitely not for tots. That’s because this gruesome twosome are more frightening than funny, known for scream-inducing skits that range from the zany to the macabre. See them in action at The Cultch (1895 Venables, Vancouver) from May 22 to June 2, with tickets from $17 online or by phone at 604-251-1363.

Credit: Flickr / dhammza

Uncorked: The Teenage Years of the B.C. Wine Industry — May 23

When it comes to B.C.’s wine industry, we’ve come a long way, baby. To see just how far, check out BC Bites & Beverages’ Uncorked: The Teenage Years of the B.C. Wine Industry, held on May 23 at Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., you’ll learn all about popular wines of the past plus taste-test award-winning modern varieties paired with local cheeses. Tickets are $45 at 250-356-7226.

Credit: Flickr / GhislainPrince

Vancouver International Tequila Expo — May 24

Did you know that there are more than 2,000 different brands of tequila? So unless you’ve got a designated driver handy, we don’t recommend sampling them all at the Vancouver International Tequila Expo, held on May 24 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. As you’d expect at this second annual shindig dedicated to Mexico’s favourite spirit, you’ll find some of the world’s top tequila, along with a slate of seminars, master classes and consumer tastings. Here’s a look at the premium tequilas you will want to sample.

Eat! Vancouver — May 24-26

Diets be damned! One of life’s great pleasures is feasting on fine food, so step away from the scale and indulge your appetite at Eat! Vancouver, held from May 24 to 26 at BC Place Stadium. This 11th annual expo ranks as Canada’s largest consumer food fest, meaning you’ll find dozens of booths offering bites from Vancouver’s best restaurants, along with a wine and beer tasting pavilion, cheese seminar stage and culinary classes on everything from sauce making to gluten-free baking.

Credit: Feast

Feast! Tofino — Until May 31

Storm watching is just one good reason to venture to Vancouver Island’s wind-battered West Coast. Another isFeast!Tofino, taking place until May 31 at various local venues. Foodies can expect a jam-packed calendar of culinary events at this third annual eat-a-thon that celebrates the region’s “boat-to-table” cuisine with everything from brewmaster dinners and beachside barbecues to a family-friendly Dockside Festival on May 25. Call 250-266-8338 for tickets.

Fifth Annual Royal LePage National Garage Sale

Just call it spring cleaning for a cause. And the cause isn’t just spic-and-span surroundings, either: funds raised at the fifth annual Royal LePage National Garage Sale help support women’s shelters across Canada. Just donate gently used items to a participating Royal LePage office — you’ll find branches in the Lower Mainland, Okanagan, Vancouver Island and other locations — and your generosity will help to end violence against women and children in your community.

Bitter, A New Vancouver Tap House

Don’t let the name fool you: Beer lovers are in for a sweet time at Bitter. That’s because this new Vancouver tap house (16 W. Hastings) takes beer’s lowbrow image as a blue collar buzz and pours it down the drain by serving up eight rotating taps of ale, lager and bitter from B.C.’s best craft brewers. And if your taste runs more to the worldly than the provincial, you can quench your thirst with a collection of international offerings or try Euro-style eats like scotch eggs, pretzels, sausage and house-made sauerkraut.

Hastings Racecourse

Hold your horses! Before you sink another cent into stocks or load up on lotto tickets, why not gamble the good old-fashioned way — by heading to the track? Noting says retro recreation quite like horse racing, which is why Hastings Racecourse is busier than ever, more than a century after it opened. On weekends and holidays through October, you can place your bets on your favourite thoroughbred, try your hand at one of 600 slot machines on the gambling floor or indulge your appetite at one of the Vancouver racetrack’s many on-site restaurants and lounges.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.